Making beer bottles from paper

March 23, 2015 - 06:05

Scientists and brewers have developed beer bottles made out of paper. But is it possible to produce them quickly enough?

This is what the new paper beer bottles look like so far. The biggest challenge now is to mass-produce them. (Photo: DTU)

The current beer packaging is made from glass, metal or plastic.

Selling beer in biodegradable bottles made from paper could prove beneficial for the environment.

At the Technical University of Denmark (DTU), packaging researchers have started to collaborate with Carlsberg, one of the largest beer brewers in the world. The packaging company Ecoxpac is also participating in the research.

The new biodegradable paper bottle could hypothetically be used for a number of products.

“We have aimed high, and the goal is to use paper bottles for beer as well,” says Thomas J. Howard, a scientist at DTU.

Has to be manufactured in six seconds

Pouring orange juice into paper cartons also posed a challenge in its time, which scientists were able to work out. Using a paper bottle for beer requires a cap that can maintain the carbonation, for starters. Being able to stack, transport, and handle the paper beer bottles without breaking is also a necessity.

According to Howard, the main challenge no longer lies in making the paper beer bottle, but in making it quickly enough. Large quantities need to be produced in a very short time in order for beer breweries to use this innovation.

The critical time is six seconds—the speed required to make one bottle—for brewers to be interested in using it.

At the same time, paper beer bottles need to be more environmentally friendly than the glass, metal or plastic currently used to package beer, which is not a given.

Drinking beer from paper in three years

The prototype for the new beer bottle is made from recycled newspaper.

For now, these bottles take much more than six seconds to produce. The scientists are testing out using a vacuum to squeeze out the water from the paper in just seconds. That could cut down the production time.

The scientists have been given three years and almost 3.8 million euros to make something completely new. Howard is convinced that he will be drinking beer from a paper bottle in three years, he tells the DTU online newspaper.

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Read this article in Norwegian at forskning.no

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Translated by
Ingrid P. Nuse

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